It appears that Ben Stiller and Sean Penn are not the only Hollywood staples that Russia has had enough of this year. The nation has moved to boycott the 2023 Academy Awards amid tensions with the United States over Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, per The Hollywood Reporter. The country’s academy does not plan to submit a film for competition in the International Feature category.
The decision to forgo the Oscars reportedly came as a surprise to Pavl Tchoukhraï, the head of Russia’s Oscar committee. He told AFP (per THR) that the move to boycott was made “behind his back” — Tchoukhraï has since resigned from his position.
Passing up competition at this year’s Oscars is a break in tradition for Russia, a country with a strong (and relatively successful) history at the Academy Awards. In 2017, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless was nominated for best foreign language film, and Kantemir Balagov’s 2019 feature Beanpole was shortlisted for the honor. In 2020, Andrei Konchalovsky’s Dear Comrades was also shortlisted for the best international feature prize.
Russia has been distancing itself from the U.S. for months now. The country has accused the Biden administration of directly intervening in their violent and pervasive attacks on Ukraine, and has threatened to cut good-faith ties with the West altogether. Russia most recently drew lines with Washington in a September 5 memo detailing a “stop list” of American individuals forbidden from entering the Russian border on the “principle of reciprocity.” Stiller and Penn were both included on the list, along with multiple government representatives like Senators Krysten Sinema, Patrick Toomey Jr., and Richard Scott.
“The hostile actions of the American authorities, which continue to follow a Russophobic course, destroying bilateral ties and escalating confrontation between Russia and the United States, will continue to be resolutely rebuffed,” the statement concluded.